WATER CHALLENGES IMPACT THE WHOLE EUROPEAN SOCIETY
Every aspect of our lives depends on water and through the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi Agreement and more recently the European Green Deal, countries strive to address waterrelated issues1. However, according to the 2019 UN Water Report, Europe still has work to do to achieve SDG6, providing clean water and sanitation for all. In fact, the more recent 2020 report underlines that European society is facing pressing challenges regarding both water quantity and quality2.
1For the 9th consecutive year, the World Economic Forum has ranked water crises as a top global societal risk. 2 2020 UN Water Report, p.134
EU Water Alliance
Extreme Events including water scarcity, droughts and floods. The increasing frequency of extreme weather events due to climate change, as well as population growth and pressure on resources reduce water availability through scarcity and contamination, threatening our ecosystems. Water security represents one of the greatest challenges that citizens, governments, businesses and investors will face in the upcoming decades. Innovative solutions for water management are needed to prevent water shortages, reduce hazards and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Pollution. Pollutants such as micro(nano)plastics and pharmaceuticals impact our ecosystems and pose risks to our health. Only part of the EU’s rivers and lakes achieved the goals set by the Water Framework Directive and the degree of progress, based on local responses, varies significantly from place to place. Covid19 crisis is also a wake-up call stressing our dependence on water and the importance of monitoring and tackling pollutants.
Ageing infrastructures. Water and wastewater infrastructures in Europe are ageing and require important investments to prevent even more expensive and potentially dangerous system failures, as well as to guarantee their resilience in the face of extreme weather.
Transversality. Water security is an international issue in need of local solutions and a vital, often overlooked element in a wide variety of sectors and policies. The fragmentation of responses and regulations, paired with a lack of awareness of its value, makes water a hard to manage and easily neglected resource. Furthermore, public awareness remains too low to support long-term and costly investments for water management. Moreover, water scarcity in some of the world’s regions could spur migration and spark conflict inevitably affecting the European continent.
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